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Full text of "The History Of Western Education"

THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY              327

the aim of which is to give the pupil first a clear then a definite
idea of the objects named. Clearness comes when he gets a
knowledge of the qualities of objects, and especially their number
and form; at this point the connection of substantives and
attributes receives much attention. Definiteness is attained by
noting the connection of objects with each other. The method
employed for this*purpose is the construction of a large number
of sentences, illustrating all the common relations of thought
implied in the idioms of language.

Important as is the knowledge to which the child is introduced
by instruction in the fundamentals of number, form and language,
it is only part of Hs equipment for the business of life. The train-
ing in knowledge needs to be supplemented by a training in skill,
so that the definite ideas in which it results may find their proper
expression in action. Pestalozzi admits himself unable to work
out this part of his scheme in detail, but he indicates the lines
along which an A B C of skill might be developed. It must start,
he says, from the simplest manifestations of physical powers,
which contain the elements of the most complicated practical
ability of man, such as striking, carrying, thrusting, throwing,
drawing, turning, pressing, swinging, and the like. What is
wanted is a graduated series of physical exercises to give a
thorough training in all these forms of activity. But even then
the training in skill would only be just begun. The more difficult
task of fitting the child to play his part in the varied occupations
which will one day be required of him as a member of the adult
community still remains to be accomplished. Beyond asserting
that this problem of technical education is capable of being
dealt with by precisely the same methods as have to be employed
at the initial stages, Pestalozzi makes no attempt to provide the
solution.

With much of his educational doctrine, more especially in
what concerns the practice of the elementary school, there is
substantial agreement on the part of all modern educators. But
it had two outstanding defects, which (as we shall see) required
to be rectified by his immediate disciples. In the first place^
though he was right in insisting on the necessity for beginning
instruction with the elements of experience, he had a wrong
idea of what the elements are. In language, for example,, he said:
"Begin with sounds and syllables." But these products of